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1.  Diseases of the Nuclear Envelope 
In the past decade, a wide range of fascinating monogenic diseases have been linked to mutations in the LMNA gene, which encodes the A-type nuclear lamins, intermediate filament proteins of the nuclear envelope. These diseases include dilated cardiomyopathy with variable muscular dystrophy, Dunnigan-type familial partial lipodystrophy, a Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 disease, mandibuloacral dysplasia, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Several diseases are also caused by mutations in genes encoding B-type lamins and proteins that associate with the nuclear lamina. Studies of these so-called laminopathies or nuclear envelopathies, some of which phenocopy common human disorders, are providing clues about functions of the nuclear envelope and insights into disease pathogenesis and human aging.
Mutations in genes encoding nuclear envelope proteins can cause numerous different tissue-specific laminopathies, linking defects in proteins of this single cellular structure with several distinct diseases.
PMCID: PMC2828284  PMID: 20182615
2.  Lamin A/C truncation in dilated cardiomyopathy with conduction disease 
Mutations in the gene encoding the nuclear membrane protein lamin A/C have been associated with at least 7 distinct diseases including autosomal dominant dilated cardiomyopathy with conduction system disease, autosomal dominant and recessive Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy, limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 1B, autosomal recessive type 2 Charcot Marie Tooth, mandibuloacral dysplasia, familial partial lipodystrophy and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria.
We used mutation detection to evaluate the lamin A/C gene in a 45 year-old woman with familial dilated cardiomyopathy and conduction system disease whose family has been well characterized for this phenotype [1].
DNA from the proband was analyzed, and a novel 2 base-pair deletion c.908_909delCT in LMNA was identified.
Mutations in the gene encoding lamin A/C can lead to significant cardiac conduction system disease that can be successfully treated with pacemakers and/or defibrillators. Genetic screening can help assess risk for arrhythmia and need for device implantation.
PMCID: PMC169171  PMID: 12854972
3.  Lamin A/C and emerin regulate MKL1/SRF activity by modulating actin dynamics 
Nature  2013;497(7450):10.1038/nature12105.
Laminopathies, caused by mutations in the LMNA gene encoding the nuclear envelope proteins lamins A and C, represent a diverse group of diseases that include Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy (EDMD), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, and Hutchison-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).1 The majority of LMNA mutations affect skeletal and cardiac muscle by mechanisms that remain incompletely understood. Loss of structural function and disturbed interaction of mutant lamins with (tissue-specific) transcription factors have been proposed to explain the tissue-specific phenotypes.1 We report here that lamin A/C-deficient (Lmna−/−) and Lmna N195K mutant cells have impaired nuclear translocation and downstream signaling of the mechanosensitive transcription factor megakaryoblastic leukaemia 1 (MKL1), a myocardin family member that is pivotal in cardiac development and function.2 Disturbed nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling of MKL1 was caused by altered actin dynamics in Lmna−/− and N195K mutant cells. Ectopic expression of the nuclear envelope protein emerin, which is mislocalized in Lmna mutant cells and also linked to EDMD and DCM, restored MKL1 nuclear translocation and rescued actin dynamics in mutant cells. These findings present a novel mechanism that could provide insight into the disease etiology for the cardiac phenotype in many laminopathies, whereby lamins A/C and emerin regulate gene expression through modulation of nuclear and cytoskeletal actin polymerization.
PMCID: PMC3666313  PMID: 23644458
4.  Novel insights into the disease etiology of laminopathies 
Laminopathies are a heterogeneous group of diseases that are caused by mutations in the nuclear envelope proteins lamins A and C. Laminopathies include dilated cardiomyopathy, Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, and familial partial lipodystrophy. Despite their near-ubiquitous expression, most laminopathies involve highly tissue-specific phenotypes, often affecting skeletal and cardiac muscle. The underlying mechanism(s) remain incompletely understood. We recently reported that altered actin dynamics in lamin A/C-deficient and mutant cells disturb nuclear shuttling of the transcriptional co-activator MKL1, which is critical for cardiac function. Expression of the inner nuclear membrane protein emerin rescues MKL1 translocation through modulating actin dynamics. Here, we elaborate on these findings, discuss new insights into the role of nuclear actin in MKL1activity, and demonstrate that primary human skin fibroblasts from a patient with dilated cardiomyopathy have impaired MKL1 nuclear translocation. These findings further strengthen the relevance of impaired MKL1 signaling as a potential contributor to the disease mechanism in laminopathies.
PMCID: PMC3927491  PMID: 24860693
lamin; MKL1; MAL; MRTF-A; dilated cardiomyopathy; nuclear actin; mechanotransduction
5.  Novel insights into the disease etiology of laminopathies 
Rare Diseases  2013;1:e27002.
Laminopathies are a heterogeneous group of diseases that are caused by mutations in the nuclear envelope proteins lamins A and C. Laminopathies include dilated cardiomyopathy, Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, and familial partial lipodystrophy. Despite their near-ubiquitous expression, most laminopathies involve highly tissue-specific phenotypes, often affecting skeletal and cardiac muscle. The underlying mechanism(s) remain incompletely understood. We recently reported that altered actin dynamics in lamin A/C-deficient and mutant cells disturb nuclear shuttling of the transcriptional co-activator MKL1, which is critical for cardiac function. Expression of the inner nuclear membrane protein emerin rescues MKL1 translocation through modulating actin dynamics. Here, we elaborate on these findings, discuss new insights into the role of nuclear actin in MKL1activity, and demonstrate that primary human skin fibroblasts from a patient with dilated cardiomyopathy have impaired MKL1 nuclear translocation. These findings further strengthen the relevance of impaired MKL1 signaling as a potential contributor to the disease mechanism in laminopathies.
PMCID: PMC3927491  PMID: 24860693
lamin; MKL1; MAL; MRTF-A; dilated cardiomyopathy; nuclear actin; mechanotransduction
6.  “Laminopathies:” a wide spectrum of human diseases 
Experimental cell research  2007;313(10):2121-2133.
Mutations in genes encoding the intermediate filament nuclear lamins and associated proteins cause a wide spectrum of diseases sometimes called “laminopathies.” Diseases caused by mutations in LMNA encoding A-type lamins include autosomal dominant Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and related myopathies, Dunnigan-type familial partial lipodystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2B1 and developmental and accelerated aging disorders. Duplication in LMNB1 encoding lamin B1 causes autosomal dominant leukodystrophy and mutations in LMNB2 encoding lamin B2 are associated with acquired partial lipodystrophy. Disorders caused by mutations in genes encoding lamin-associated integral inner nuclear membrane proteins include X-linked Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, sclerosing bone dysplasias, HEM/Greenberg skeletal dysplasia and Pelger-Huet anomaly. While mutations and clinical phenotypes of “laminopathies” have been carefully described, data explaining pathogenic mechanisms are only emerging. Future investigations will likely identify new “laminopathies” and a combination of basic and clinical research will lead to a better understanding of pathophysiology and the development of therapies.
PMCID: PMC2964355  PMID: 17467691
lamin; nuclear envelope; intermediate filaments; muscular dystrophy; lipodystrophy; progeria
7.  Hallermann-Streiff Syndrome: No Evidence for a Link to Laminopathies 
Molecular Syndromology  2011;2(1):27-34.
Hallermann-Streiff syndrome (HSS) is a rare inherited disorder characterized by malformations of the cranium and facial bones, congenital cataracts, microphthalmia, skin atrophy, hypotrichosis, proportionate short stature, teeth abnormalities, and a typical facial appearance with prominent forehead, small pointed nose, and micrognathia. The genetic cause of this developmental disorder is presently unknown. Here we describe 8 new patients with a phenotype of HSS. Individuals with HSS present with clinical features overlapping with some progeroid syndromes that belong to the laminopathies, such as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) and mandibuloacral dysplasia (MAD). HGPS is caused by de novo point mutations in the LMNA gene, coding for the nuclear lamina proteins lamin A and C. MAD with type A and B lipodystrophy are recessive disorders resulting from mutations in LMNA and ZMPSTE24, respectively. ZMPSTE24 in addition to ICMT encode proteins involved in posttranslational processing of lamin A. We hypothesized that HSS is an allelic disorder to HGPS and MAD. As the nuclear shape is often irregular in patients with LMNA mutations, we first analyzed the nuclear morphology in skin fibroblasts of patients with HSS, but could not identify any abnormality. Sequencing of the genes LMNA, ZMPSTE24 and ICMT in the 8 patients with HSS revealed the heterozygous missense mutation c.1930C>T (p.R644C) in LMNA in 1 female. Extreme phenotypic diversity and low penetrance have been associated with the p.R644C mutation. In ZMPSTE24 and ICMT, no pathogenic sequence change was detected in patients with HSS. Together, we found no evidence that HSS is another laminopathy.
PMCID: PMC3343748  PMID: 22570643
Hallermann-Streiff syndrome; Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome; ICMT; Laminopathy; LMNA; Mandibuloacral dysplasia; ZMPSTE24
8.  Accumulation of the Inner Nuclear Envelope Protein Sun1 is Pathogenic in Progeric and Dystrophic Laminopathies 
Cell  2012;149(3):565-577.
Human LMNA gene mutations result in laminopathies that include Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy (AD-EDMD) and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria, the premature aging syndrome (HGPS). The Lmna null (Lmna−/−) and progeroid LmnaΔ9 mutant mice are models for AD-EDMD and HGPS respectively. Both animals develop severe tissue pathologies with abbreviated life spans. Like HGPS cells, Lmna−/− and LmnaΔ9 fibroblasts have typically misshapen nuclei. Unexpectedly, Lmna−/− or LmnaΔ9 mice that are also deficient for the inner nuclear membrane protein Sun1 show markedly reduced tissue pathologies and enhanced longevity. Concordantly, reduction of SUN1 over-accumulation in LMNA mutant fibroblasts and in HGPS cells corrected nuclear defects and cellular senescence. Collectively, these findings implicate Sun1 protein accumulation as a common pathogenic event in Lmna−/−, LmnaΔ9, and HGPS disorders.
PMCID: PMC3340584  PMID: 22541428
9.  Emerinopathy and Laminopathy Clinical, pathological and molecular features of muscular dystrophy with nuclear envelopathy in Japan 
Acta Myologica  2007;26(3):159-164.
Mutations in the genes for nuclear envelope proteins of emerin (EMD) and lamin A/C (LMNA) are known to cause Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) and limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). We compared clinical features of the muscular dystrophy patients associated with mutations in EMD (emerinopathy) and LMNA (laminopathy) in our series. The incidence of laminopathy was slightly higher than that of emerinopathy. The age at onset of the disease in emerinopathy was variable and significantly older than in laminopathy. The initial symptom of emerinopathy was also variable, whereas nearly all laminopathy patients presented initially with muscle weakness. Calf hypertrophy was often seen in laminopathy, underscoring the importance of mutation screening for LMNA in childhood muscular dystrophy with calf hypertrophy. The clinical spectrum of emerinopathy is actually wider than previously known including EDMD, LGMD, conduction defects with minimal muscle/joint involvement, and their intermittent forms. Pathologically, no marked difference was observed between emerinopathy and laminopathy. Increased number and variation in size of myonuclei were detected. More precise observations using electron microscopy is warranted to characterize the detailed nuclear changes in nuclear envelopathy.
PMCID: PMC2949309  PMID: 18646565
Emerin; lamin A/C; muscular dystrophy
10.  Lamin A/C deficiency causes defective nuclear mechanics and mechanotransduction 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;113(3):370-378.
Mutations in the lamin A/C gene (LMNA) cause a variety of human diseases including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. The tissue-specific effects of lamin mutations are unclear, in part because the function of lamin A/C is incompletely defined, but the many muscle-specific phenotypes suggest that defective lamin A/C could increase cellular mechanical sensitivity. To investigate the role of lamin A/C in mechanotransduction, we subjected lamin A/C–deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts to mechanical strain and measured nuclear mechanical properties and strain-induced signaling. We found that Lmna–/– cells have increased nuclear deformation, defective mechanotransduction, and impaired viability under mechanical strain. NF-κB–regulated transcription in response to mechanical or cytokine stimulation was attenuated in Lmna–/– cells despite increased transcription factor binding. Lamin A/C deficiency is thus associated with both defective nuclear mechanics and impaired mechanically activated gene transcription. These findings suggest that the tissue-specific effects of lamin A/C mutations observed in the laminopathies may arise from varying degrees of impaired nuclear mechanics and transcriptional activation.
PMCID: PMC324542  PMID: 14755334
11.  Reactivation of autophagy ameliorates LMNA cardiomyopathy 
Autophagy  2013;9(1):110-111.
Mutations in the LMNA gene, which encodes lamin A and C (lamin A/C), cause a diverse spectrum of tissue-selective diseases termed laminopathies. The most prevalent form affects striated muscles as dilated cardiomyopathy with variable skeletal muscle involvement, which includes autosomal Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. Mechanisms underlying the disease pathogenesis are beginning to be understood and they point toward defects in cell signaling. We therefore assessed putative signaling defects in a mouse model carrying a point mutation in Lmna (LmnaH222P/H222P) that faithfully recapitulates human Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. We found that AKT-mechanistic target of rapamycin (MTOR) signaling was hyperactivated in hearts of LmnaH222P/H222P mice and that reducing MTOR activity by pharmacological intervention ameliorated cardiomyopathy. Given the central role of MTOR in regulating autophagy, we assessed fasting-induced autophagic responses and found that they were impaired in hearts of these mice. Moreover, the improved heart function associated with pharmacological blockade of MTOR was correlated with enhanced autophagy. These findings demonstrated that signaling defects that impair autophagy underlie pathogenesis of dilated cardiomyopathy arising from LMNA mutation.
PMCID: PMC3542212  PMID: 23044536
LMNA; dilated cardiomyopathy; laminopathy; autophagy; nuclear lamina; cell signaling
12.  Nurturing the genome 
Nucleus  2009;1(2):129-135.
A-type lamins provide a scaffold for tethering chromatin and protein complexes regulating nuclear structure and function. Interest in lamins increased after mutations in the LMNA gene were found to be associated with a variety of human disorders termed laminopathies. These include muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy, lipodystrophy, peripheral neuropathy and premature aging syndromes such as progeria. In addition, altered expression of A-type lamins is emerging as a contributing factor to tumorigenesis. How different alterations in a gene that is ubiquitously expressed can cause such an array of systemic as well as tissue specific diseases remains an enigma. Several lines of evidence indicate that mutant forms of A-type lamins impact on genome function and integrity. A current model suggests that genomic instability plays a major part in the pathophysiology of some lamin-related diseases. However, this model remains to be fully investigated. Here we discuss recent studies revealing novel functions for A-type lamins in the maintenance of telomeres and in the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway. These findings have shed some light onto the putative molecular mechanisms by which alterations in A-type lamins induce genomic instability and contribute to disease.
PMCID: PMC3030686  PMID: 21326943
A-type lamins; telomeres; DNA damage response; genomic instability; nuclear organization; DNA repair
13.  Mouse Models of the Laminopathies 
Experimental cell research  2007;313(10):2144-2156.
The A and B type lamins are nuclear intermediate filament proteins that comprise the bulk of the nuclear lamina, a thin proteinaceous structure underlying the inner nuclear membrane. The A-type lamins are encoded by the lamin A gene (LMNA). Mutations in this gene have been linked to at least nine diseases, including the progeroid diseases Hutchinson-Gilford progeria and atypical Werner’s syndromes, striated muscle diseases including muscular dystrophies and dilated cardiomyopathies, lipodystrophies affecting adipose tissue deposition, diseases affecting skeletal development, and a peripheral neuropathy. To understand how different diseases arise from different mutations in the same gene, mouse lines carrying some of the same mutations found in the human diseases have been established. We, and others have generated mice with different mutations that result in progeria, muscular dystrophy, and dilated cardiomyopathy. To further our understanding of the functions of the lamins, we also created mice lacking lamin B1, as well as mice expressing only one of the A-type lamins. These mouse lines are providing insights into the functions of the lamina and how changes to the lamina affect the mechanical integrity of the nucleus as well as signaling pathways that, when disrupted, may contribute to the disease.
PMCID: PMC1949387  PMID: 17493612
Lamins; Nucleus; Laminopathies; Progeria
14.  Mitotic Defects Lead to Pervasive Aneuploidy and Accompany Loss of RB1 Activity in Mouse LmnaDhe Dermal Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18065.
Lamin A (LMNA) is a component of the nuclear lamina and is mutated in several human diseases, including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD; OMIM ID# 181350) and the premature aging syndrome Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS; OMIM ID# 176670). Cells from progeria patients exhibit cell cycle defects in both interphase and mitosis. Mouse models with loss of LMNA function have reduced Retinoblastoma protein (RB1) activity, leading to aberrant cell cycle control in interphase, but how mitosis is affected by LMNA is not well understood.
We examined the cell cycle and structural phenotypes of cells from mice with the Lmna allele, Disheveled hair and ears (LmnaDhe). We found that dermal fibroblasts from heterozygous LmnaDhe (LmnaDhe/+) mice exhibit many phenotypes of human laminopathy cells. These include severe perturbations to the nuclear shape and lamina, increased DNA damage, and slow growth rates due to mitotic delay. Interestingly, LmnaDhe/+ fibroblasts also had reduced levels of hypophosphorylated RB1 and the non-SMC condensin II-subunit D3 (NCAP-D3), a mitosis specific centromere condensin subunit that depends on RB1 activity. Mitotic check point control by mitotic arrest deficient-like 1 (MAD2L1) also was perturbed in LmnaDhe/+ cells. LmnaDhe/+ fibroblasts were consistently aneuploid and had higher levels of micronuclei and anaphase bridges than normal fibroblasts, consistent with chromosome segregation defects.
These data indicate that RB1 may be a key regulator of cellular phenotype in laminopathy-related cells, and suggest that the effects of LMNA on RB1 include both interphase and mitotic cell cycle control.
PMCID: PMC3064591  PMID: 21464947
15.  Genome-wide analysis links emerin to neuromuscular junction activity in Caenorhabditis elegans 
Genome Biology  2014;15(2):R21.
Laminopathies are diseases characterized by defects in nuclear envelope structure. A well-known example is Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, which is caused by mutations in the human lamin A/C and emerin genes. While most nuclear envelope proteins are ubiquitously expressed, laminopathies often affect only a subset of tissues. The molecular mechanisms underlying these tissue-specific manifestations remain elusive. We hypothesize that different functional subclasses of genes might be differentially affected by defects in specific nuclear envelope components.
Here we determine genome-wide DNA association profiles of two nuclear envelope components, lamin/LMN-1 and emerin/EMR-1 in adult Caenorhabditis elegans. Although both proteins bind to transcriptionally inactive regions of the genome, EMR-1 is enriched at genes involved in muscle and neuronal function. Deletion of either EMR-1 or LEM-2, another integral envelope protein, causes local changes in nuclear architecture as evidenced by altered association between DNA and LMN-1. Transcriptome analyses reveal that EMR-1 and LEM-2 are associated with gene repression, particularly of genes implicated in muscle and nervous system function. We demonstrate that emr-1, but not lem-2, mutants are sensitive to the cholinesterase inhibitor aldicarb, indicating altered activity at neuromuscular junctions.
We identify a class of elements that bind EMR-1 but do not associate with LMN-1, and these are enriched for muscle and neuronal genes. Our data support a redundant function of EMR-1 and LEM-2 in chromatin anchoring to the nuclear envelope and gene repression. We demonstrate a specific role of EMR-1 in neuromuscular junction activity that may contribute to Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy in humans.
PMCID: PMC4053756  PMID: 24490688
16.  Direct actin binding to A- and B-type lamin tails and actin filament bundling by the lamin A tail 
Nucleus  2010;1(3):264-272.
Nuclear intermediate filament networks formed by A- and B-type lamins are major components of the nucleoskeleton. Lamins have growing links to human physiology and disease including Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), lipodystrophy, cardiomyopathy, neuropathy, cerebellar disorders and segmental accelerated ‘aging’ syndromes. How lamins interact with other nucleoskeletal components, and even the identities of these other components, are open questions. Previous studies suggested lamins might bind actin. We report that the recombinant C-terminal tail domain of human A- and B-type lamins binds directly to purified actin in high-speed pelleting assays. This interaction maps to a conserved Actin Binding site (AB-1) comprising lamin A residues 461–536 in the Ig-fold domain, which are 54% identical in lamin B1. Two EDMD-causing missense mutations (R527P and L530P) in lamin A that are predicted to disrupt the Ig-fold, each reduced F-actin binding by ∼66%, whereas the surface-exposed lipodystrophy-causing R482Q mutation had no significant effect. The lamin A tail was unique among lamins in having a second actin-binding site (AB-2). This second site was mapped to lamin A tail residues 564–608, based on actin-binding results for the lamin C tail and internal deletions in the lamin A tail that cause Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (Δ35, Δ50) or restrictive dermopathy (Δ90). Supporting the presence of two actin-binding sites, recombinant precursor (unmodified) and mature lamin A tails (not C or B1 tails) each bundled F-actin in vitro: furthermore F-actin bundling was reduced 25–40% by the R527P, L530P, Δ35 and Δ50 mutations, and was abolished by Δ90. Unexpectedly, the mature lamin A tail bound F-actin significantly more efficiently than did the prelamin A tail; this suggested unmodified residues 647–664, unique to prelamin A, might auto-inhibit binding to actin (and potentially other partners). These biochemical results suggest direct mechanisms by which lamins, particularly lamin A, might impact the concentration of free actin in the nucleus or pathways including transcription, nuclear export, chromatin remodeling, chromatin movement and nuclear assembly that require nuclear myosin 1c and polymerizable actin.
PMCID: PMC3027033  PMID: 21327074
lamin; nuclear actin; nuclear envelope; laminopathy; Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy; Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome; atypical Werner syndrome
17.  Laminopathies and the long strange trip from basic cell biology to therapy 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(7):1825-1836.
The main function of the nuclear lamina, an intermediate filament meshwork lying primarily beneath the inner nuclear membrane, is to provide structural scaffolding for the cell nucleus. However, the lamina also serves other functions, such as having a role in chromatin organization, connecting the nucleus to the cytoplasm, gene transcription, and mitosis. In somatic cells, the main protein constituents of the nuclear lamina are lamins A, C, B1, and B2. Interest in the nuclear lamins increased dramatically in recent years with the realization that mutations in LMNA, the gene encoding lamins A and C, cause a panoply of human diseases (“laminopathies”), including muscular dystrophy, cardiomyopathy, partial lipodystrophy, and progeroid syndromes. Here, we review the laminopathies and the long strange trip from basic cell biology to therapeutic approaches for these diseases.
PMCID: PMC2701866  PMID: 19587457
18.  Rapamycin Reverses Elevated mTORC1 Signaling in Lamin A/C–Deficient Mice, Rescues Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle Function, and Extends Survival 
Science translational medicine  2012;4(144):144ra103.
Mutations in LMNA, the gene that encodes A-type lamins, cause multiple diseases including dystrophies of the skeletal muscle and fat, dilated cardiomyopathy, and progeria-like syndromes (collectively termed laminopathies). Reduced A-type lamin function, however, is most commonly associated with skeletal muscle dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy rather than lipodystrophy or progeria. The mechanisms underlying these diseases are only beginning to be unraveled. We report that mice deficient in Lmna, which corresponds to the human gene LMNA, have enhanced mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1) signaling specifically in tissues linked to pathology, namely, cardiac and skeletal muscle. Pharmacologic reversal of elevated mTORC1 signaling by rapamycin improves cardiac and skeletal muscle function and enhances survival in mice lacking A-type lamins. At the cellular level, rapamycin decreases the number of myocytes with abnormal desmin accumulation and decreases the amount of desmin in both muscle and cardiac tissue of Lmna–/– mice. In addition, inhibition of mTORC1 signaling with rapamycin improves defective autophagic-mediated degradation in Lmna–/– mice. Together, these findings point to aberrant mTORC1 signaling as a mechanistic component of laminopathies associated with reduced A-type lamin function and offer a potential therapeutic approach, namely, the use of rapamycin-related mTORC1 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3613228  PMID: 22837538
19.  Embryonic Senescence and Laminopathies in a Progeroid Zebrafish Model 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17688.
Mutations that disrupt the conversion of prelamin A to mature lamin A cause the rare genetic disorder Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and a group of laminopathies. Our understanding of how A-type lamins function in vivo during early vertebrate development through aging remains limited, and would benefit from a suitable experimental model. The zebrafish has proven to be a tractable model organism for studying both development and aging at the molecular genetic level. Zebrafish show an array of senescence symptoms resembling those in humans, which can be targeted to specific aging pathways conserved in vertebrates. However, no zebrafish models bearing human premature senescence currently exist.
Principal Findings
We describe the induction of embryonic senescence and laminopathies in zebrafish harboring disturbed expressions of the lamin A gene (LMNA). Impairments in these fish arise in the skin, muscle and adipose tissue, and sometimes in the cartilage. Reduced function of lamin A/C by translational blocking of the LMNA gene induced apoptosis, cell-cycle arrest, and craniofacial abnormalities/cartilage defects. By contrast, induced cryptic splicing of LMNA, which generates the deletion of 8 amino acid residues lamin A (zlamin A-Δ8), showed embryonic senescence and S-phase accumulation/arrest. Interestingly, the abnormal muscle and lipodystrophic phenotypes were common in both cases. Hence, both decrease-of-function of lamin A/C and gain-of-function of aberrant lamin A protein induced laminopathies that are associated with mesenchymal cell lineages during zebrafish early development. Visualization of individual cells expressing zebrafish progerin (zProgerin/zlamin A-Δ37) fused to green fluorescent protein further revealed misshapen nuclear membrane. A farnesyltransferase inhibitor reduced these nuclear abnormalities and significantly prevented embryonic senescence and muscle fiber damage induced by zProgerin. Importantly, the adult Progerin fish survived and remained fertile with relatively mild phenotypes only, but had shortened lifespan with obvious distortion of body shape.
We generated new zebrafish models for a human premature aging disorder, and further demonstrated the utility for studying laminopathies. Premature aging could also be modeled in zebrafish embryos. This genetic model may thus provide a new platform for future drug screening as well as genetic analyses aimed at identifying modifier genes that influence not only progeria and laminopathies but also other age-associated human diseases common in vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3068137  PMID: 21479207
20.  Differential Expression of A-Type and B-Type Lamins during Hair Cycling 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(1):e4114.
Multiple genetic disorders caused by mutations that affect the proteins lamin A and C show strong skin phenotypes. These disorders include the premature aging disorders Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and mandibuloacral dysplasia, as well as restrictive dermopathy. Prior studies have shown that the lamin A/C and B proteins are expressed in skin, but little is known about their normal expression in the different skin cell-types and during the hair cycle. Our immunohistochemical staining for lamins A/C and B in wild-type mice revealed strong expression in the basal cell layer of the epidermis, the outer root sheath, and the dermal papilla during all stages of the hair cycle. Lower expression of both lamins A/C and B was seen in suprabasal cells of the epidermis, in the hypodermis, and in the bulb of catagen follicles. In addition, we have utilized a previously described mouse model of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and show here that the expression of progerin does not result in pronounced effects on hair cycling or the expression of lamin B.
PMCID: PMC2606029  PMID: 19122810
21.  Myopathic lamin mutations impair nuclear stability in cells and tissue and disrupt nucleo-cytoskeletal coupling 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(12):2335-2349.
Lamins are intermediate filament proteins that assemble into a meshwork underneath the inner nuclear membrane, the nuclear lamina. Mutations in the LMNA gene, encoding lamins A and C, cause a variety of diseases collectively called laminopathies. The disease mechanism for these diverse conditions is not well understood. Since lamins A and C are fundamental determinants of nuclear structure and stability, we tested whether defects in nuclear mechanics could contribute to the disease development, especially in laminopathies affecting mechanically stressed tissue such as muscle. Using skin fibroblasts from laminopathy patients and lamin A/C-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts stably expressing a broad panel of laminopathic lamin A mutations, we found that several mutations associated with muscular dystrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy resulted in more deformable nuclei; in contrast, lamin mutants responsible for diseases without muscular phenotypes did not alter nuclear deformability. We confirmed our results in intact muscle tissue, demonstrating that nuclei of transgenic Drosophila melanogaster muscle expressing myopathic lamin mutations deformed more under applied strain than controls. In vivo and in vitro studies indicated that the loss of nuclear stiffness resulted from impaired assembly of mutant lamins into the nuclear lamina. Although only a subset of lamin mutations associated with muscular diseases caused increased nuclear deformability, almost all mutations tested had defects in force transmission between the nucleus and cytoskeleton. In conclusion, our results indicate that although defective nuclear stability may play a role in the development of muscle diseases, other factors, such as impaired nucleo-cytoskeletal coupling, likely contribute to the muscle phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3658163  PMID: 23427149
22.  Collagen Expression in Fibroblasts with a Novel LMNA Mutation 
Laminopathies are a group of genetic disorders caused by LMNA mutations; they include muscular dystrophies, lipodystrophies and progeroid syndromes. We identified a novel heterozygous LMNA mutation, L59R, in a patient with the general appearance of mandibuloacral dysplasia and progeroid features. Examination of the nuclei of dermal fibroblasts revealed the irregular morphology characteristic of LMNA mutant cells. The nuclear morphological abnormalities of LMNA mutant lymphoblastoid cell lines were less prominent compared to those of primary fibroblasts. Since it has been reported that progeroid features are associated with increased extracellular matrix in dermal tissues, we compared a subset of these components in fibroblast cultures from LMNA mutants with those of control fibroblasts. There was no evidence of intracellular accumulation or altered mobility of collagen chains, or altered conversion of procollagen to collagen, suggesting that skin fibroblast-mediated matrix production may not play a significant role in the pathogenesis of this particular laminopathy.
PMCID: PMC1867458  PMID: 17150192
Progeroid syndrome; Laminopathy; Collagen; Aging
23.  Inner nuclear envelope proteins SUN1 and SUN2 play a prominent role in the DNA damage response 
Current biology : CB  2012;22(17):1609-1615.
The DNA damage response (DDR) and DNA repair are critical for maintaining genomic stability and evading many human diseases [1, 2]. Recent findings indicate accumulation of SUN1, a nuclear envelope (NE) protein, is a significant pathogenic event in Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, both caused by mutations in LMNA [3, 4]. However, roles of mammalian SUN proteins in mitotic cell division and genomic stability are unknown. Here we report that the inner NE proteins SUN1 and SUN2 may play a redundant role in DDR. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts from Sun1−/−Sun2−/− mice displayed premature proliferation arrest in S phase of cell cycle, increased apoptosis and DNA damage, and decreased perinuclear heterochromatin, indicating genome instability. Furthermore, activation of ATM and H2A.X, early events in DDR, were impaired in Sun1−/−Sun2−/− fibroblasts. A biochemical screen identified interactions between SUN1/2 and DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNAPK) complex that functions in DNA nonhomologous end joining repair and possibly in DDR [2, 5, 6]. Knockdown of DNAPK reduced ATM activation in NIH3T3 cells, consistent with a potential role of SUN1/2-DNAPK interaction during DDR. SUN1/2 could affect DDR by localizing certain nuclear factors to the NE or by mediating the communication between nuclear and cytoplasmic events.
PMCID: PMC3466333  PMID: 22863315
KASH-SUN complex; Genomic instability; DNA repair; DNAPK; Ku70; Ku80; DDR; H2A.X; ATM; HGPS
24.  Molecular ageing in progeroid syndromes: Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome as a model 
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder that belongs to a group of conditions called laminopathies which affect nuclear lamins. Mutations in two genes, LMNA and ZMPSTE24, have been found in patients with HGPS. The p.G608G LMNA mutation is the most commonly reported mutation. The aim of this work was to compile a comprehensive literature review of the clinical features and genetic mutations and mechanisms of this syndrome as a contribution to health care workers. This review shows the necessity of a more detailed clinical identification of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome and the need for more studies on the pharmacologic and pharmacogenomic approach to this syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2674425  PMID: 19379495
25.  Mapping of lamin A- and progerin-interacting genome regions 
Chromosoma  2012;121(5):447-464.
Mutations in the A-type lamins A and C, two major components of the nuclear lamina, cause a large group of phenotypically diverse diseases collectively referred to as laminopathies. These conditions often involve defects in chromatin organization. However, it is unclear whether A-type lamins interact with chromatin in vivo and whether aberrant chromatin–lamin interactions contribute to disease. Here, we have used an unbiased approach to comparatively map genome-wide interactions of gene promoters with lamin A and progerin, the mutated lamin A isoform responsible for the premature aging disorder Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) in mouse cardiac myoytes and embryonic fibroblasts. We find that lamin A-associated genes are predominantly transcriptionally silent and that loss of lamin association leads to the relocation of peripherally localized genes, but not necessarily to their activation. We demonstrate that progerin induces global changes in chromatin organization by enhancing interactions with a specific subset of genes in addition to the identified lamin A-associated genes. These observations demonstrate disease-related changes in higher order genome organization in HGPS and provide novel insights into the role of lamin–chromatin interactions in chromatin organization.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00412-012-0376-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3443488  PMID: 22610065

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